Frontline nurses and healthcare staff holding rally in Stratford to protest wage suppression bill

(BlackburnNews.com file photo)

Nurses and frontline healthcare workers in Stratford are holding a rally outside their local MPP’s office today.

A release from the Ontario Nurses Association states that registered nurses and healthcare professionals in Stratford are gathering for a rally in front of Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece’s office today to call for the repeal of wage-suppression legislation, Bill 124.¬†Ontario Nurses’ Association President, Vicki McKenna,¬† herself an RN, claims in the release that “Bill 124 was passed by this government to suppress wages and access to fair collective bargaining, holding wage and benefit increases to a maximum of one per cent.”

McKenna also says that the passing of Bill 124 has caused many nurses to leave the profession, alongside many other healthcare professionals, worsening the already stark shortage of healthcare workers in Ontario. The nurses and healthcare workers in Stratford will be joined today by members of CUPE outside Randy Pettapiece’s office in Stratford from 11 a.m. this morning until 1 p.m. this afternoon.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic has continued, our dedicated front-line RNs and health-care professionals have been increasingly incensed at this government’s targeting of their profession, despite their sacrifices,” says Ontario Nurses’ Association President Vicki McKenna, RN. “Bill 124 was passed by this government to suppress wages and access to fair collective bargaining, holding wage and benefit increases to a maximum of one per cent. Our members are planning a Day of Action in Stratford to inform the public about this legislation, which is particularly concerning to those working in smaller and rural hospitals and health-care facilities.”

“As the nursing shortage causes closures of rural emergency departments, delays surgeries and leaves our patients waiting for care, it is imperative that this government repeal Bill 124,” adds McKenna. “Our highly educated and skilled RNs and health-care professionals deserve respect.”

ONA is the union representing more than 68,000 registered nurses and health-care professionals, as well as 18,000 nursing student affiliates, providing care in hospitals, long-term care, public health, the community, clinics and industry.